Opposition activists hold an "anti-APEC summit" in Vladivostok
Russian opposition activists gathered in Vladivostok, the Russian venue of the current Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, on Saturday for an "anti-APEC summit."
The outdoor "anti-summit" brought together about a dozen and a half people and was held in a place offering a view of the Russky Island, the actual site of the APEC event where representatives of 21 economies are discussing economic issues.
One of the "anti-summit" participants, Viktor Potopeiko, who heads a district branch of the Russian Communist Party (KPRF), told Interfax by telephone that the activists were discussing "problems of the world capitalist crisis, its effects on the economies of Asia-Pacific countries, its consequences and solutions to it."
"It's a business meeting. Representatives of parties and nongovernmental organizations are presenting papers on a specific subject that has been announced and are holding discussions," he said.
Potopeiko said the groups represented at the meeting included The Other Russia, the Russian Communist Workers' Party (RKRP), RotFront, the Organization for the Defense of Lenin, Labor Primorye, and the Civil Initiative for Free Education.
He also said one of the "anti-summit" organizers, Nikolai Sosnov, had not come to the meeting because he feared arrest.
Sosnov himself told Interfax by phone that he had planned to attend the "anti-summit" but stayed home because he noticed men outside whom he suspected of being policemen.
"I have every reason to assume that they are police and that they want to detain me," Sosnov said. "If I go out of my apartment, they may arrest me, for example for insulting officers. And that means 15 days [of arrest] immediately," Sosnov said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Vladivostok city police authority told Interfax that the "anti-summit" was a peaceful event.
"The people are sitting there peacefully. One police detail has been left at the site that will make sure law and order is observed. We haven't counted those present," he said.
Earlier, "anti-summit" organizers said in the VKontakte online social network that the meeting would be an academic-type event that would analyze the agenda of the APEC summit. Participants would present papers on economic and political issues and hold debates.
The organizers said the "anti-summit" would send demands and recommendations to the governments of APEC member countries, and that the Russian government would receive a special statement on the political situation in Russia.
They said the "anti-summit" would be neither a public event nor a protest, and that it was expected to take eight to 10 hours.